A/N: Written for mireille719 in the maleslashminis AU round. The request was: Gunn/Wesley, Sci-fi, a dystopian setting; I'd like to see the two of them as rebels against an evil empire/totalitarian government/etc. Or just criminals (smugglers?). In a spaceship. I really want the spaceship.
Everything I know about sci-fi I learned from Star Wars, which may explain a lot.
It's also not done yet, exactly, because it apparently spawned a verse in my head. So, expect quite a bit more.
Beta'ed by the wonderful alixtii. All remaining mistakes are the fault of my idiot brain.
The second rule of the smuggling business is: never take on strange passengers willing to pay the first price you ask.
The first rule of the smuggling business is: you don’t talk about the smuggling business, but everybody disregards that one, how would you get any business otherwise? You can't exactly advertise, so the word of mouth is quite important.
But the second rule is set in stone. After all, you hear stories all the time, about some poor shmuck who disregarded the second rule and ended up in the middle of some intergalactic war over the dominance in the universe or whatever.
And Charles Gunn certainly knows this. But the third rule, the one every good smuggler really follows, is: you take care of your ship, and she’ll take care of you. And the ugly truth is, the ship needs parts, and repairs, and probably a new hyperdrive, because the one they have in on it’s last wind. New shields would be nice, too. Oh, and a paintjob. And a dozen of other things that pop up every day, because as one thing starts to finally work, or is repaired, some other screw comes loose, something spontaneously bursts into flames, or, hypothetically, one of the latest runs goes to hell and the sensors get fried with a laser beam. Can happen.
Did happen, in fact, which is why Charles is strapped for cash even more than usual, and why he does something that goes against all the rules (well, fine, the second, and the seventh, which is never take on mysterious passengers with clearly made-up names, and what sort of lame made-up name is Wyndham-Pryce anyway?), and agrees to get one passenger, no questions asked, to Caritas, for the grand price of twenty thousand credits, paid upfront, because Charles may be desperate, but he ain't stupid.
Of course, that was before he had learned how annoying a passenger Wesley Wyndham-Pryce can be.
"You are certain this ship will get to Caritas? In one piece?"
Gunn attempts a glare, which crashes with the customary casual-leaning-against-the-hull-of-the-s
Pryce smirks, walking up the ramp. “You named the ship Winifred?” he half-asks, half-laughs. “How... adorable.”
Charles looks at him uncharitably, wondering if it’s too late to dump his ass and make off with the money. Too bad he actually prefers to stick to the contract, even an unwritten one. Word of mouth, after all. “Just hurry up.”
There are no further comments, just Pryce looking around curiously. Gunn waits for another jab at his girl, ready to argue, but nothing comes. Instead, the guy runs his fingers against the control board, and says, in quite a different tone, “She is beautiful.”
The lights on the controls come alive, the sure sign Winifred likes him, and she can be quite picky at times. Gunn feels a weird pang that might be jealousy, and he’s not entirely sure whom he is envious of.
He really hopes that it’s about Winifred’s new attachment, because a captain is allowed to have a love affair with his ship, but falling for a passenger would be bad. And also, breaking rule eight. And quite possibly rule nine, but he doesn’t want to think of that one too much, as this might cause visuals and would be inconvenient at the moment.
Most inconvenient, he amends, as the ship shakes suddenly, and all the controls fire up in brilliant red, which usually means either that Winifred is having one of those days, or that, unfortunately, they are being shot at.
And for heaven’s sake, they haven’t even left the ground.
“Shields up!” Gunn yells, and Pryce gives him the ‘are you talking to me?’ confused look. Charles doesn’t waste time on rolling his eyes, but follows his own order, and in a matter of seconds, the barrier is stopping the following shots
No real damage, fortunately, just another reason for getting the new paint-job done as soon as possible. He shoots Wesley a look. “I’m not getting paid enough for this,” he mutters.
Pryce just looks back. “What makes you think they’re here for me?”
“Please. I haven’t pissed the Council off so much,” Gunn says, then pauses. “Lately,” he adds truthfully, then sighs. “Fine. Fasten your seat-belts, we’re getting out of here.”
“I don’t have any seat-belts,” he hears Pryce mutter, and smirks, as the engines roar up to life, and Winifred soars up.
* * *
“You’re paying extra for all the repairs,” Gunn announces through the piece of wire he’s holding in his teeth. “Hand me the wrench,” he adds, and one appears in his sight. “Not this one, the other one,” he instructs, and Wesley’s feet move, then the smaller wrench is handed to him.
“I still think this doesn’t have to be my fault,” Wesley says, and Gunn snorts.
“Yes, because being shot at by Council minions is something that happens to me daily. Twice a day, in fact.”
Pryce sighs. “I take it this is your attempt at sarcasm and it really doesn’t?”
Gunn rolls out from under the panel. “Got it in one.”
“Fine,” Wesley says with an overdone dramatic sigh. “The moment we land on Caritas, I’ll wire the money.”
“You better,” Gunn mutters. He wonders whether the fact that Pryce looks extremely good when he takes his jacket off to help with the repairs is worth a discount or an extra charge for making it especially difficult to stick to the rules eight and nine. Especially nine.
* * *
Gunn is between overjoyed (because he probably won’t get shot at for the next month or so) and devastated (he won’t admit it, of course) when they finally reach Caritas system. This state, mostly, just makes him cranky.
What makes him even more cranky, and lets him forget the unwanted conflicted emotions, is the whole fucking flotilla of the Council ships. For once, though, they don’t seem to be shooting at them, but instead concentrate on destroying one small fighter, whose pilot is either very good, or very, very drunk.
Gunn is about to smoothy navigate around the scene and make like they’re not there, but Wesley gets a strange faraway look on his face, and stills his hand. “Wait,” he says absently, and reaches for the commlink as if he was allowed. “Winifred to the T-class fighter, do you copy? Repeat, do you copy?”
There’s a moment of static, and then a highly annoyed woman’s voice comes through, to the sound of beams hitting a shield that seems seconds from giving in. “Winifred, Wes? Something you wanna tell me?”
Wesley breathes out, and there’s a small smile on his face. “Good to hear you, too. Get here fast,” he says and turns to Gunn. “Open the dock, she’s coming in.”
She. Gunn grimaces. It’s always about some girl. Rule number two is there for a very good reason, and so is rule number... whatever. The point is, going on a suicidal rescue mission for some girl? Never ends well. And that’s a fact. It has nothing to do with... nevermind.
He opens the dock, however, and refrains from saying anything, even when he hears the crash of the fighter against the dock’s landing area. He shuts it close, and puts the shields back in place, not fast enough to avoid two hits, however. More to repair, more for Pryce to cough up.
He pulls the hyper-drive switch without being told to, and then calmly follows Pryce to the dock.
A dark-haired woman is crawling out of the half-burned cockpit, shaking her head. “I seriously can’t drive this shit,” she says, and Wesley is laughing.
“You fly it, Faith, not drive it.”
“Huh,” she says with a smile. “Must be why.”
Gunn leans against the entrance and watches them go through a slightly awkward hello scene, where neither of them moves for a hug, but somehow makes a half-step forward, then back, then forward again. Quite pathetic, but not as pathetic as some other things he may quote at the moment.
“Are you all right?” Wesley asks, and the girl nods.
“Five by five. Thanks for the cavalry. The laying low part?” she makes a wide gesture, and Wesley nods.
“Let me guess. Didn’t work?”
“Didn’t work,” she confirms, then looks at Gunn. “Who’s he?”
“Captain Charles Gunn. Kindly got me here,” Wesley explains not looking at him, and Gunn simply nods.
And just then, the ship shakes again, and the unpleasant feeling of getting pulled out off the hyper-drive speed almost throws him off his feet. He glances at Faith. “Can’t fly, but how are you with shooting?”
She smiles beatifically. “My favourite part.”
“Good. Get to the cannon. You too,” he tells Wesley, already turning to run back to the cockpit.
“Of course,” Wesley says, at the same moment Faith drawls, “By the way, love the name.”
Great. He still doesn’t like her.
* * *
“A Slayer,” Gunn repeats, maybe for the sixth time, he’s not sure. “I thought this was a myth.”
“It is,” Wesley nods. “Doesn’t mean it’s not true. Now, will you just be still?” he says irritably, swabbing at Gunn’s wound again.
“Which would make you a Watcher? Man, this day keeps getting funnier and funnier.”
“Ex-watcher,” Wesley corrects automatically, as if he did it a thousand times before. Which he probably has done. “Not exactly seeing eye-to-eye with the Council this days.”
Gunn laughs, and his side hurts like hell when he does, but he can’t really stop. “No shit. What gave it away?”
Wesley smiles slightly. “They didn’t invite me to the annual retreat this year,” he says matter-of-factly. “I think this was the main hint.”
“Ah. Not the million of torpedoes, then?” Gunn offers, and he still can’t stop laughing.
“It gave me some vague idea, yes. Be still,” he repeats, putting his hand on Gunn’s chest to hold him in place. And suddenly, Gunn is very still. Very, very still.
Oh, damn it. Some rules are well worth breaking, he thinks, as his gaze locks with Wesley’s. “So, tell me,” he says quietly. “Are the rules of Watcher’s celibacy a myth, too?” he asks, then pauses, smiling. “And if not... do they actually apply to ex-Watchers?”
Wesley is smiling softly as well. “Actually, the whole story is utter bollocks.”
“Ah. Good,” Gunn says, and then he’s certainly not saying anything.
And he’s on the best way to break rule nine.